Hawks gearing up for a push to make states

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ANSONIA — After a two-game winning streak last week which put the Woodland baseball team back in the hunt for a Naugatuck Valley League tournament berth, the Hawks are now scrambling to get enough wins to qualify for the state playoffs.

Woodland beat Holy Cross and Kennedy last week, but followed up with a 10-0 loss to Wolcott on Saturday and an 8-3 loss at Ansonia on Monday to fall to 4-9 on the season.

At Nolan Field on Monday night, the Hawks managed only four hits and made four errors, which led to four unearned runs.

Woodland took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the third inning after Steve Baeder destroyed a ball about 400 feet into the open center field, allowing Anthony Scirpo and Jack DeBiase to score.

But in the bottom half, starting pitcher Mike Masulli and the defense behind him surrendered the lead. Ansonia tied it after a two-run single by Orlando Morales and later took the lead when Zack Rivers scored on a wild pitch.

The Hawks managed just one more hit—an infield single by Sean Deegan—the rest of the way while the Chargers tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to two more errors.

Brian Langdon relieved Masulli in the fifth and didn’t allow an earned run, although he did surrender a pair of unearned runs that both scored on what should have been an inning-ending groundout.

Baeder, Scirpo, Deegan and Ryan McKay were the only Hawks to record hits.

“I think that all of us went up there wanting to kill the ball,” said senior co-captain Ryan Mariotti, who went 0-for-3 against Ansonia starter Adam Thayer. “We didn’t try to move runners over and execute and play baseball. We just wanted to hit the ball as hard and as far as we could and we came up short.”

The offensive struggles continued for Woodland, which managed two hits against Wolcott’s Dominic Gambino on Saturday, after what could have been a breakout performance in a 15-4 win over Kennedy last Friday.

Instead, the team is frustrated and trying to find a way to win at least four of its last seven games to qualify for the Class M state tournament.

Mariotti said that even though the team is making physical miscues, the players need to keep their heads in the game.

“We shouldn’t care if we make an error in the field or strike out,” Mariotti said. “We should be telling our pitcher or the next hitter up to pick you up and go back to cheering them on. We know how good of a baseball team we are, we just need to play as a team and we will reach our potential.”

Although there aren’t any games that Woodland can take lightly on its remaining schedule, including Sacred Heart on Wednesday and St. Paul on Friday, Mariotti thinks the team can turn it around in enough time to get the necessary eight wins.

“I love this team and have the utmost faith in every single player on this team,” Mariotti said. “Me and my other two captains are not going to let our team down one bit.”